Unpopped Kernels: Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)

There is no one here who would deny that if you were driving down the back roads of deep South America and you came across a couple of men in flannel, muttering incomprehensibly and looking kind of backwards, you’d be scared. That’s how we have been conditioned anyway. The sea is full of monsters, the mirror full of ghosts and the Deep South is full of deformed redneck killers. However, if without the influence of horror movies or indeed anyone with a brain, will realise that that isn’t the case and it’s just stereotype, playing on our fears of culture unknown.

Unfortunately, our group of students don’t have half a brain and just have a ridiculous amount of horror stories to fuel their fear. Tucker and Dale are the subject of some extreme prejudice.

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Tucker & Dale vs Evil is exactly that. A group of college students go deep into the heart of the woods to camp and partying. They bump into a couple of workers, Tucker and Dale, who they deem creepy and run off in their car. However, at night, when the boys are fishing, lead girl Diana slips and bumps her head, falling into the river. As the two drag her out, saving her life, Diana’s friends misconstrue the help for attack and are determined to get Diana back. However, Tucker and Dale are just sweet mannered men who want to help Diana, especially as Dale has a crush on her. The problem is, no one believes them and as the students accidentally kill themselves, Tucker and Dale look more like serial killers by the minute.

This movie is one of those perfect balances of humour and horror. It takes every conventional bloody trope and twists them for glee. Instead, we are on the side of Tucker and Dale, who in every movie will be living on the out skirts of society murdering people as part of a sadistic family. Instead, they are our heroes; poor people who have had a serious case of bad judgement fallen on them. Each death is an accident and no one can see how crazy this all is apart from Tucker, Dale and Diana. It helps that Tucker and Dale are played by insanely charismatic actors Andy Tudyk (who everyone should know) and Tyler Labine, who manage to balance a sincere cluelessness yet kindness with their characters. The college students are the cardboard cut outs which doesn’t matter, they are there as headless chickens who manage to kill themselves by their blind stupidity.

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Tucker & Dale vs Evil isn’t exactly an amazing film and the story dwindles by the end of the movie, adding a stupidly annoying twist that negates the whole film that proceeded it. That being said, it is still a much better movie than most, feeling more like Shaun of the Dead than Texas Chain Saw Massacre. It will make you jump, there is bloody moments but it will make you laugh. It will also make you see things from the over side, turning the genre on its head.

Then shoving it into a wood chipper for good measure.

Tucker & Dale vs Evil is available on Netflix! 

This Cosplay from London Film and Comic Con! 

Dian Fossey: Secrets in the Mist – TV Review

Gorillas are incredible beasts. They have striking personalities and a strong presence. Part of our family, they are wonderful mammals. The woman who walked with them was Dian Fossey – a name now shrouded in mystery.

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The three-part miniseries due to screen on the Nat Geo channel revolves around Dian Fossey’s life and work in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda. She was well known for the conservation of the gorillas in the country as well as pioneering research into their behaviours. However, in December 27th 1985, Fossey was found brutally murdered in her Karisoke cabin. With her controversial tactics threatening relationships with local government and poachers as well as concern from her own camp, her murder still remains a complete mystery. In this series, we look at the life she led, the work she did, and the problems that had arisen when she faced off with the poachers who wanted to slay the gorillas.

Director Zara Hayes has put together a powerful portrait of a woman who strived for this species. Her work led to thousands of gorillas being saved as well as providing humanity with a deeper understanding of the mammals. In fact, gorillas have never looked so wonderful in this glorious documentary that showcases the animals then and now, showing not just their intimidating presences but also their tenderness and intricacies.

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Through stock footage, testimonies, and reconstructions, the life of Fossey is weaved in this powerful documentary. Included in the voices are Sigourney Weaver who played Fossey in real-life biopic Gorillas in the Mist and David Attenborough who visited Karisoke for a small period of time. There’s a carefulness about the documentary to balance many different voices. Though her work and connection with the Gorillas’ is unparalleled (even Attenborough says that there is no person who has single-handedly saved an entire species,) Fossey treated the local community and poachers with contempt. Secrets in the Mist allows this side to come through and instead of making judgements, lays bare the controversies of Fossey and keeps it alongside the great work she did.

Hayes also unearths a lot, including building up imitations of Fossey’s life with the scientists own items, including, sadly, Christmas presents that have not been opened in 22 years. It is with this astonishing commitment to detail that Haye’s work here strives forward in a compelling way and engrosses you to the story at hand.

There are stark and brutal images here, especially when the aftermath of poachers are revealed as well as the examination of Fossey’s own murder. One particular gorilla death is shown and it is deeply disturbing and highly upsetting. For those hoping for a sweet look at Fossey and the gorillas, this will be a harsh uncovering. However, intimate, intelligent, and incredibly filmed, Secrets in the Mist is a daring series that will intrigue completely.

Secrets in the Mist premieres tonight at 8pm over at the Nat Geo channel! 

The Rogue Table – Short Film

The Rogue Table follows John, a lazy “young professional” who couldn’t care less about life really. He works to eat, he works to drink and he works to party. Disregarding the feelings of his furniture has never been a massive deal for him but it has for his table. And now the table has got feelings…of revenge!

Starring Vedi Roy
Directed by Sarah Cook
Written by Sarah Cook
Produced by Gloria Daniel-Moss
DOP – Sean Narborough
Sound by Graham Osborne
Script Supervisor by Jo Johnstone
Runners – Leah Stone
Executive Producers – William John and Graham Osborne
In collaboration with IWG Productions and Cookie N Screen Films

Random Acts: Fern – Short Film Review

Here at We Make Movies On Weekends, we love our weird shorts. I mean, this is coming from a company who produced a short about a murdering piece of furniture. So Channel 4’s Random acts is absolutely perfect for us when it comes for mining the weirdest and most wonderful from upcoming filmmakers. Especially when the perturb with a truly surreal story. And an obsessive plant who falls in love with a woman? Well, that just fits right in our plot plant.

Starring BAFTA-award winning Monica Dolan, the film revolves around a woman whose greenery has become somewhat…posessive.

The darkly humorous short is two minutes of hilarity. It certainly doesn’t beat around the bush as director Johnny Kelly and heads straight into the foliage fun. There is the definite wit here and I’d absolutely love to have been on set to see  the comedy, what with the movable plant arms that caress, care, and kill. Underneath the soil, however, is a tenderness and a terror that curls round you.

But, naturally, Dolan is a tour-de-force and not one minute feels unrealistic. There is genuine chemistry between here and the plant which showcases her Dolan’s marvellous talent.

It’s a bizarre but brilliant film with roots of excellence.

Random Acts is available to watch online